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Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India (2001)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 3

Lagaan is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 0

Lagaan is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 19,316

My Rating

Movie Info

One of the most expensive films ever to come out of Bollywood, Lagaan tells the tale of the Indian village Champaner, beset by drought and British colonialism in the year 1893. Without a drop of rain in months, the worried villagers of Champaner decide to ask the local authorities for a temporary repeal of their taxes -- the hated lagaan. Led by the heroic Bhuvan (Indian superstar Aamir Khan) they bring their plight to the military governor, Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne). But the sadistic

Jan 22, 2002

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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (3) | DVD (15)

An involving, easily digestible hunk of pure entertainment that could be the trigger for Bollywood's long-awaited crossover to non-ethnic markets.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Few recent American musicals are this fluid or engaging.

March 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A great big Bollywood musical, complete with song and dance and doomed love triangles and elegantly photographed men playing cricket. And it's terrific fun, in a way that only great big musical fantasies can be.

December 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After having seen this Cinemascope extravaganza in a theater, on DVD and video, I still think the big screen experience is worth it.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It works its magic with such exuberance and passion that the film's length becomes a part of its fun.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An enormously entertaining movie, like nothing we've ever seen before, and yet completely familiar.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Will be the film all others in Bollywood are judged against, in terms of both creativity and success.

August 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

With an equally stunning soundtrack, this rollicking yarn is a must for all film lovers.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The film's got a big scope and a big heart, even taking time to decry class, social, and racial discrimination.

July 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

A great introduction to the joys of Indian popular cinema.

January 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

This is a lavish production that will remain a favourite for years to come.

October 30, 2002 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

If you're in the mood for a Bollywood film, here's one for you.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

A skillfully made, good-natured movie.

September 18, 2002 Full Review Source:

A good example of the 'masala' type of Indian filmmaking, where politics, romance, class consciousness and long musical numbers are stirred together in an entertaining stew.

September 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

So fascinating, you may not notice how much time has passed when the credits finally roll.

September 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

There's no denying that when this film is good, it's very good.

August 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Even during the climactic hourlong cricket match, boredom never takes hold.

July 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

The most deliriously entertaining movie of the summer.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

It seems impossible that an epic four-hour Indian musical about a cricket game could be this good, but it is.

July 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Two hours of melodramatic musical married to two hours of underdog sports intrigue, if the picture also shares the weaknesses of both genres, more's the pity.

July 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

...a rousing fantasy of bloodless revolution against capricious colonial rulers.

July 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Audience Reviews for Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India

An entertaining movie about the importance of not accepting defeat when in face of the toughest obstacles and how we should do everything in our power to succeed, with faith and courage - and it even finds space to discuss matters like prejudice along the way.
August 10, 2014

Super Reviewer

For a movie which is SOOO GOOOD and beautifuly made - it will make you ignore the length as you will be immersed in this Bollywood epic.
Aamir Kahn is one of Bollywoods' favourite sons as he stars and produces this epic - which stands as one of the best Bollywood movies to date.

Set in the 1800's, in the midst of British Rule, one province takes a gamble to defy their oppressors and the land taxes in a game of cricket. Simple... yet cleverly wound into a bollywood love triangle intertwined with the regular, but in this case fabulous musicals which have made this movie spectacular, and cinematography to make your heart melt.

A distinctly unique film, you will see an age old India arise out of the dust, and Victorian Age British mixed in the wilderness of the sub continent, a real historic rewind so accurate it would make you believe you were there.

Better watch this musical!
October 19, 2009
Khris N

Super Reviewer

Moulin Rouge ripped this movie off. Wasn't bad, I suppose, but I admit I wasn't paying much attention to it.
March 10, 2008
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

I'm not usually a fan of sports films, but mixed with interesting period detail, beautifully shot locations and a political spin, this works really rather well. And it deserves applause for doing the impossible and making a game of cricket interesting.
July 14, 2007
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Captain Andrew Russell: Eat the meat, your highness.
    – Submitted by Haroon M (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Lagaan - Es war einmal in Indien (DE)
  • Lagaan (UK)
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